Pete Arredondo, the police chief who led law enforcement during the Uvalde, Texas school shooting, is stepping down from his position on the city council, according to a recent announcement.
Arredondo was elected to the position before the massacre at Robb Elementary School took place, but he wasn’t sworn in until May 31 — a week after the attack which left 19 students and two teachers dead. At the time, the police chief received harsh criticism for choosing to retain his position on the city council.
In a statement given to the Uvalde Leader-News on Saturday, Arredondo said his resignation was to ensure that Uvalde authorities could operate distraction-free.
“After much consideration, I regret to inform those who voted for me that I have decided to step down as a member of the city council for District 3,” Arredondo said. “The mayor, the city council, and the city staff must continue to move forward without distractions. I feel this is the best decision for Uvalde.”
Arredondo went on to say that the Uvalde community must “continue to support the families, continue to support our community, and definitely, to keep our faith.”
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin called Arredondo’s resignation “the right thing to do.”
Before his resignation, Arredondo had not attended any of the city council’s meetings, which are open to the public. When the police chief requested an extended leave of absence from the meetings in June, the city council denied his request.
In the weeks leading up to his decision to resign, Arredondo faced a storm of outrage over the role he played in law enforcement’s botched response to the May 24 shooting.
While the police chief claimed he wasn’t the one in charge that day, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw later said that wasn’t true — Arredondo was the incident commander responsible for the police’s “abject failure.” McCraw also said that responding officers had enough firepower to stop the shooter within minutes of arriving on the scene.
“Three minutes after the subject entered the West building, there was a sufficient number of armed officers wearing body armor to isolate, distract and neutralize the subject,” McCraw said. “The only thing stopping the hallway of dedicated officers from entering rooms 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander, who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children.”